Hudons Sled Salvage (Jim Tucker) (video)
While driving up to the Old Forge Snodeo in New York a sign on the side of the road in the small town of Barneveld caught my eye. Hmm… Hudons Sled Salvage, huh? I’ve heard of them before. I’ve got some time so let’s stop in and for a minute or two and say hi. No big deal, just a few minutes and then I will be straight back on my way again.
Do you remember the theme song from Gilligan’s Island? Well it soon became a three hour tour! Honestly though, who can really get excited about sled parts? Parts is parts, right? Well not at Hudon’s! Parts are a way of life for these folks and soon you will know why. The staff greeted me warmly including Mr Hudon’s daughter Nicole. Staff members Dave, Lory and Roger began to tell tales of a store that’s been around since 1965. Dan Hudon started small and carried such brands as John Deere, Polans, Blue Goose, and Otter snowmobiles. Dang, never heard of them boys before! He worked his way up to be one of the largest, if not largest salvage yards on the East Coast. Maybe the largest east of the Mississippi.
The very large and warm showroom (radiant heat in the floors) has vintage Twisters, SRX, Super mod Kitty Kats and even a sled from Alaska that had a chewed up seat from sled dogs. Going upstairs reveals a vintage sled display. You just know this is not your average salvage yard. I’m a gear nut, so this right up my alley. Oh well, the show will have to wait, I’m knee deep in parts!
The shear volume of this place will blow you away as you wind your way through three floors of new, used, and vintage parts. And don’t forget the mystery trailers out back!
Okay, so what makes this place so special you ask? All the staff have a real passion for the sport. You can just feel the energy. Passion is great but what else separates this salvage yard from the others? Okay, I’ll bite – what could it be? Parts haven’t changed much and everybody needs some now and then. What else is there? They do have a deer in the back storeroom! No kidding. It’s not real but probably got caught chasing a snowmobile and ended up there Ha, ha!
Let me give you some quick facts about the place.
- 23,000 square feet of indoor storage space- all full I might add.
- Every year they purchase one of the most popular sleds from each of the big four, strip them down, inventory them, and sell the parts! Yikes! So, that means if you get into an accident early in the season they just might have all the side covers and all other niggling little parts to get you back on the trail? The manufacturers may just be backordered on those side panels. Sled Ed approved!
- $2,000,000 in new parts alone. Yup, on hand. Tried to slip a few in my bag but didn’t work out so well.
- $500,000 in tracks. Where the rubber meets the trail.
- Vintage barn outside where the vintage parts reside and where they had to come rescue me before closing time!
- Don’t forget the mystery trailers. Fourteen 40-foot long box trailers that read Ski-Doo, Polaris and Arctic Cat on the doors. Loaded with pipes, suspensions and other goodies, just waiting to get a good home. Just for the record I’m a Merc guy, so I didn’t want to go into the Polaris trailer. Why? Because I thought any part in there might make my sled go slower! Heck, I want to go faster. Ha Ha!
- Second floor loaded with hoods, hoods and more hoods! Wiring harnesses hanging from the ceiling. Like a scene from Aliens.
- Blair Morgan limited edition Ski-Doo with serial number one. The one, the only Blair Morgan!
- Dismantling 150 older sleds each year. Asked the guy taking them part about mice. Oh yeah he knows about mice, and bees too. Hey, how about equal time for snakes?
- First floor of new inventory. Could you spare a dime out of your two million dollar parts inventory?
- They have in stock one of everything that Woodys makes: Runners, big studs, small studs and yours truly a real stud. Just kidding!
- They bought out inventory of Smith’s sled shop.
- Large lot of service manuals. Not sure if they are for sale but you could ask.
- Don’t forget the very rare snowmobile (slot car) set made by Eldon with a white track no less and little snowmobiles that race around. Hot dang! No, they would not let me use it for fear I might win and make the staff look bad!
- They sell to a lot of foreign countries. Canada is their biggest buyer right now. Hey what happened to Jamaica?
- Downstairs has CDI boxes, stators, clutches, suspension parts and more. More? What else is left?
- Sells portable sawmills, all made in the USA.
- Don’t forget to find the deer!
- A sweet Scorpion grooming machine from back in the day. Hey, can you give me a deal on that?
Whew, what a place! Okay, so check out the YouTube video about Hudon’s sled salvage, sung to an old Beatles tune. Here’s a hint it’s not Yellow Submarine. Take that you Ski-Doo fans!
Need help? Just call any of the staff at Hudon’s, 8187 New York 12, Barneveld, NY 13304, 315-896-help. Part numbers help but if you don’t have that, tell them it’s the small thingy next to the large thingy that’s kind of rusted and smells real funny. They’ll get the picture. Oh, yeah, and tell them Jim sent you. That should get them to hang up right quick.